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You will never believe who I saw in the garden....

Thursday, we find Jesus celebrating the Passover with his friends, He knows His time is coming and yet He chooses to spend time with those closest to us. For many of us we have not been able to do that for so long and perhaps we can feel that importance of company and understand why for Jesus it was so key for him. After they had eaten the meal Jesus went with those closest with Him….

Matthew 26: 36-39

This garden was not the place of peace and tranquillity. There in the evening breeze as the creatures scuttled to their sleeping places and the night animals began to stir Jesus faced the deepest turmoil. Overwhelmed, sorry, stay with me.

I wonder how many of us have felt this way, unknowing where to turn, trusting but ripped with pain. I wonder how many of us have done these kinds of deals with God… Oh God if only you will….

Those times and situations in life that we cry out to God, the only one who could do something, for some of us it’s that tiny mustard seed, I know you can, would you? Sorrow awakening us, stirring us, overwhelming us…. Wanting others and yet facing the trials all alone.

As the night began to fall the desperation and turmoil wrapped all around Jesus, the darkness overtaking even the light of the world.

This garden was the last place Jesus chose to go.

But it was not the last garden.

John 20:11-18 adds a really interesting idea into his resurrection account. It’s Sunday, the women have gone to the tomb

15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

You may have heard this amazing part of the story before but to see something more we need to go right back to Genesis 3. Another familiar passage which takes us to the point of broken relationship with God. There in the Garden of Eden the world had been perfect, beautiful, a place of delight. Here we discover a God who is walking in the garden in the cool of day. God called out ‘Where are you?”

That moment of broken-ness, all that perfection lost. As man and woman chose to do what they wanted they put that above what God had said. He had a plan that was for their best, an idea of the most wonderful incredible future but they decided to do their own thing, rely on themselves. There, God is walking, like He always did, part of this intimate relationship of closeness with people, walking, talking, catching up on the day, sharing the moments.

The God who did not want to be distant but to be so close. But in this act Adam and Eve were banished from the garden – they had to cross the threshold of Eden and a barrier was put up. That intimate relationship of walking with each other was lost…. But not forever.

Here, stepping across the threshold of the tomb we find the risen God. When John tells us Mary thought it was the gardener he gives us a precious insight. He takes us back to that perfect relationship that God wanted and here in the garden is not just the victory over death but over sin. This is not just about eternal life but about access for each of us to a God who wants to be with us, to walk with us, to share with us all our days. Jesus, God, the gardener – here again, close again, the relationship offered once again if we want to meet with Him.

God’s story from the very beginning is redeemed, restored, revisited as we are invited to see the gardener. This God who had felt the ultimate loneliness, who had known darkness, desperation, disappointment calls out to you again from the garden and invites you to know Him.

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